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Did someone throw a curve ball?

Interviews are there to challenge you, a real chance for potential employers to hone in on your skills and character in order to weigh up the value that you could add to their organisation. Although they remain important, conventional questions around your strengths and weaknesses, as well as your motivations and your experiences, are proving less popular in judging the ability to think quickly in pressurised scenarios. As such, we are seeing an increasing trend of clients opting for a new type of questioning.

'Curve ball' questions will be fairly commonplace and a right of passage for those who have experienced a case study interview for a strategy consultancy. These questions can be anything from "how many ping pong balls could you get onto a jumbo jet?" to "how many roof tiles are there in the whole of the UK?". More and more of our clients are now adding these gems into typically more casual meet and greet style interview stages, and unsurprisingly this is throwing many interviewees off track. This can be extremely unnerving, particularly if asked on the back of a simple ‘career motivations’ question, but can also prove very insightful for the interviewer who is then able to gauge how you react and what you come up with!

It is an opportunity for organisations' to assess how well you may perform under pressure, a chance for you to demonstrate the innate logic behind your thought process, and in some instances (question dependent) your creativity - a favourite answer to the ping pong ball question we had was from a candidate who responded, "that would be two...one for each pocket in order to get them through customs".

Answering a curve ball question well will communicate your values and character to the highest level, setting you apart. As a result, we would always recommend spending time considering how you may approach a question of this style before an interview just in case! However, it still remains incredibly important to do your homework on the company itself, research thoroughly their products, services and locations, and understand the role requirements implicitly so that you are able to subtly respond and adapt your answers to the hiring manager’s needs.